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UCP to allow private sale of blood in Alberta

“If passed, this bill will divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services to private buyers, who can then sell them to the highest bidder on world markets,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd.

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The NDP claims the UCP is about to repeal a law in Alberta that bans the private sale of blood.

The NDP claims Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, will bring forward a private member’s bill in the coming days that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood.

Buying human blood was banned in Alberta in 2017 by the NDP’s Voluntary Blood Donation Act. Yao’s bill is titled the Voluntary Blood Donation Repeal Act, the NDP said in a release.

“If passed, this bill will divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services to private buyers, who can then sell them to the highest bidder on world markets,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd.

“This is very bad for Albertans. It flies directly in the face of the Krever Inquiry.”

 The Krever Inquiry investigated Canada’s tainted blood scandal, in which tens of thousands of people were infected with hepatitis C or HIV through tainted blood products.

The inquiry’s report led to the creation of a single national agency, Canadian Blood Services. 

Ontario, Quebec and B.C. also have legislated bans on the purchase of human blood, the NDP release said. Manitoba has a single paid-donation centre for rare blood types that predates the Krever Inquiry.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have private blood purchasing locations. 

“The previous Alberta government passed the Voluntary Blood Donation Act in response to private blood buyers like Canadian Plasma Resources, who were hoping to open locations in Alberta. Canadian Blood Services does not buy from these companies, so it’s unclear where the blood or plasma purchased in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick is going,” the NDP release said.

Shepherd said: “This isn’t a partisan issue – our single public voluntary system has served Albertans well for decades, and through this global pandemic.  Allowing private buyers to divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services will cause terrible harm to Canada’s supply. Tany Yao’s bill is a terrible mistake, and I hope members of the UCP caucus will join us in defeating it.”

Peter Martin Jaworski, Ph.D., an Associate Teaching Professor in Strategy, Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has made the case for allowing blood products to be sold.

“In order to meet the demands of patients, every country has come to rely increasingly on plasma from the United States, one of the few countries that permits some form of payment for plasma. The United
States is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. Along with the other countries that permit a form of payment for plasma donations (including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia), they
together account for nearly 90% of the total supply,” he wrote in a paper called Bloody Well Pay Them.

“This situation is unsustainable, a risk to security, and, most importantly, a threat to the millions of patients who currently depend on plasma therapies, those who will in future, and those who would benefit from them but do not have access.

“In order to ensure a safe, secure, and sufficient supply of plasma therapies, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia should withdraw prohibitions on voluntary remunerated plasma collections, and thereby ensure domestic security of supply for our patients, and begin to contribute to the global supply of plasma.”

David Clement, Toronto-based North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “If this is true, we applaud the Government of Alberta and MLA Tany Yao for putting this forward. A ban on paid blood plasma was ridiculous to begin with, especially considering that 70% of Canada’s blood plasma supply comes from the USA, where they compensate donors.

“Blood plasma is used for a variety of medical treatments, and plays and important role in the fight against Covid-19. Our hope is that by allowing for compensation, more Albertans will donate blood plasma and help the province overcome the persistent shortages that occur. Czechia (previously the Czech Republic) legalized paying for blood plasma, and saw a 7 fold increase in donations. If that were to happen in Alberta it would be cause for celebration, not condemnation.” said Clement.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

COVID lockdown remains as new virus variants found in Alberta ‘a serious threat’

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There is no sign of Alberta relaxing COVID-19 lockdown regulations as numerous cases of virus variants are showing up in the province.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the variants are “a serious threat.”

Shandro said 20 cases of a variant from Great Britain, along with five cases of a variant from South Africa, have been discovered in the province.

He said the variants are one of the reasons the province will not be easing lockdown regulations as they make sure the health care system is not overwhelmed.

Shandro said any easing of the restrictions will be based on the amount of “risk” involved.

When asked about numerous Alberta businesses opening despite lockdown regulations, Shandro said: “Our hearts go out to all business.”

Shandro also blasted the federal government as Alberta currently has no COVID-19 vaccines to hand out. Manufacturer Pfizer has said Canada will not receive any doses this week.

“We need more doses – now,” said Shandro, adding Alberta is currently ready to vaccinate 50,000 people a day when the shipments resume.

He noted Canada has only vaccinated two per cent of the population, while in the US, the figure is six per cent and the UK, ten per cent.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said regulations will be relaxed “as soon as it’s safe.”

She said in the last 24 hours, Alberta has found 362 new cases of the virus, along with 25 deaths. The positivity rate is 5 per cent.

It’s is the fewest number of new cases in a day since Oct. 23.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Alberta RCMP find man who was wearing KKK hood in Grimshaw

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw

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RCMP in Grimshaw say they have identified a man who was photographed at the town post office wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Now it’s in the hands of the Crown to determine whether charges are laid.

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw, located 25 km west of Peace River.

The photo was passed on to the RCMP who launched an investigation.

“Following several investigative steps, Peace Regional RCMP believe to have identified the individual involved in this incident. The Peace Regional RCMP’s investigation remains active and all information has been presented to the Office of the Crown Prosecution for review and opinion,” RCMP said in a statement Monday.

The day the photo appeared, Mayor Bob Regal posted on Facebook: “The Town of Grimshaw and its residents in no way finds this type of behaviour appropriate or acceptable along with the insinuations made that have been made by several commenters that Grimshaw is somehow a racist community! “

Media reports said the hooded man had been seen at the post office numerous times.

The KKK hate group has been around in one form or another since 1865. Membership peaked at 6 million in 1925. There are currently up to 8,000 members of the white supremacist group.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Former Shell head says Biden’s Keystone move ‘makes no sense’

John Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

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The former president of Shell Oil says President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project “makes no sense for the future good of the American people,” warning “we will pay a price for that.”

John Hofmeister made the comments on FOX Monday morning.

“Oil is not going away. Anyone that thinks it is, certainly doesn’t understand how the economy works and how science works and so it’s just going to be a struggle,” he said.

“We’re in for a number of years of struggle while we also work on the next set of alternatives.”

In addition to halting Keystone, Biden renewed the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord last Wednesday, the first day he was in power.

Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

“It creates a great deal of uncertainty, which is very difficult to manage in a business that requires billions of dollars and years of planning,” Hofmeister, who retired as head of Shell in 2008, told Fox.

“We’re not going to get rid of fossil fuels in a four-year term or an eight-year term of an administration. It’s just not going to happen. What will happen is that the price of oil will go up and the production of U.S. oil will go down.”

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the cancelled project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to operator TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

In a letter to Trudeau Friday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney claims when Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project on Wednesday, he broke several free trade regulations.

“At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the US Administration to compensate TC Energy, and the Alberta government, for billions of dollars of cost incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date,” Kenney’s letter said.

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s money.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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